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Developed in conjunction with Peugeot and Citroen, the new Scudo is a modern light commercial vehicle that is virtually identical to the Expert and Dispatch. There's a choice of engines, configurations and even trim levels to suit a variety of panel van, platform cab and commercial passenger vehicle applications. It benefits from the latest safety systems, drives well and is available with some useful options. Its steeply racked front-end improves performance, fuel economy and noise levels. The Fiat van dealer network isn't as extensive as the best rivals, but it is increasing.
The cabin area offers a straight-forward working environment with two or three front seats depending upon model, but three adults are a squeeze. The dash is of car-quality, with several dash-top storage recesses. The steering wheel adjusts for height, the handbrake lever is on the door-side of the driver and the gearlever sprouts from the dash, a short reach from the steering wheel. The wing mirrors house double mirror units giving an adjustable view and a fixed lower mirror, positioned to aid manoeuvring. The panel van is available in three slightly varying spec-levels: Business is the most basic, but includes height-adjustable driver's seat, two-way adjustable steering wheel, a high-level storage shelf and a ladder-bulkhead behind the driver. Comfort level adds electric front windows, an extra cup holder and a load-area 12V power supply. Deluxe versions are further fitted with electric, heated door mirrors, wiper and headlamp sensors and front fog lights.
Fiat builds good diesel engines itself, but as the Scudo is a joint development with Peugeot and Citroen, the Scudo is offered with a choice of three Peugeot diesels. We found the 1.6 (89bhp/180Nm) to be slightly lacklustre although the 2 litres had the opposite problem.
At 126 (320Nm) and 161bhp (340Nm), they provide ample pulling power and return good fuel consumption but we often found ourselves stalling or wheel-spinning once the clutch ‘bites’, although we would recommend it if you need to cover distance or carry heavy loads. The 1.6 has a five-speed gearbox, the others have six-speeds